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Jazz Archives: Ragtime Piano

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Jazz Archives: Ragtime Piano


Published April 21, 1964


Phil Elwood presents a program on the evolution of Ragtime music from Scott Joplin to Jelly Roll Morton. The early composers of Ragtime saw themselves foremost as composers and looked down on the un-schooled musicians that later adapted ragtime into what became known as Jazz. Joplin in particular was rather conservative in his approach to Ragtime, and did little to include the swinging beat that was to be popularized by later musicians such as Jelly Roll Morton. Most of this music predates modern recording techniques and was typically cut onto rolls that could be performed by a player piano. Elwood plays a selection of tunes that span the time form the turn of the 20th century up to the 1920s when Jazz first began to come into its own.


Run time 28 min

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Reviewer: thalassocracy - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 28, 2013
Subject: A man who was there (almost).
The original composers of Ragtime (Scott Joplin, Tom Turpin, Louis Chauvin et al.) believed they were creating an African American classical music. They were not enthusiastic about how their syncopations and fast melodies where eagerly adopted by untrained lower-class 'jazz' musicians.
This program covers the early decades of the twentieth century, when Ragtime slowly lost its highbrow credentials - and slipped into being a popular music.
In the 1960's - when this program was first broadcast - there were still performers who could remember this process. This gives the programming, and the presentation, an unusual authenticity.
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